Development of procedures for early screening of smoking cessation medications in humans

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Aug;84(2):216-21. doi: 10.1038/clpt.2008.30. Epub 2008 Mar 19.


Candidate medications for smoking cessation may be screened more efficiently if initial evaluations in humans combine the practical advantages of laboratory studies with the clinical validity of clinical trials, such as by increasing participants' "quit motivation" during brief testing. We manipulated "intrinsic" quit motivation by recruiting smokers who either did intend to quit soon ("treatment seekers," N = 47) or did not ("nonseekers," N = 93), and "extrinsic" quit motivation by providing or not providing reinforcement for abstinence ($12/day). All the subjects smoked as they would usually do during weeks 1 and 3, and tried to quit during weeks 2 and 4 using either a nicotine patch (21 mg) or a placebo patch, in accordance with the crossover design of the study. The nicotine patch increased abstinence in treatment seekers but not in nonseekers. Reinforcement had a main effect on abstinence but did not moderate the effects of the nicotine patch or treatment-seeking status. Intrinsic, but not extrinsic, quit motivation of participants may enhance the validity of brief tests of medication efficacy for smoking cessation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Motivation
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage
  • Nicotine / therapeutic use*
  • Nicotinic Agonists / administration & dosage
  • Nicotinic Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Smoking / drug therapy*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Nicotine